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Tomokazu Harimoto becomes youngest Grand Finals singles champ

Kyodo

Tomokazu Harimoto became table tennis’ youngest World Tour Grand Finals singles champion on Sunday with a win over world No. 4 Lin Gaoyuan of China.

The 15-year-old Harimoto, ranked No. 5 worldwide, beat Lin 11-4, 13-15, 11-9, 11-9, 11-9 to become Japan’s first men’s singles champion at the event since Jun Mizutani won in 2014.

The youngest Tour Grand Finals champions were Japan’s women’s doubles pair of Miu Hirano and Mima Ito, who won in 2014 at the age of 14.

After dropping the second game to fall even, Harimoto reeled off six straight points to open the third game. But he appeared to be on the ropes soon after, trailing 10-9.

“I felt I had more margin for error than I did last year,” said Harimoto, who was looking for his first title since July. “This alone was the one I wasn’t going to let get away.”

“I’ve never been this excited after winning a championship.”

Ito and Hina Hayata, runners-up last year, got past Chen Xingtong and Sun Yingsha of China to win the women’s doubles 11-9, 13-11, 12-10